Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Eating From The Pantry Challenge: Day 1

Day 1 of our Eating From The Pantry Challenge is almost over with. So far, it's been 11 days since I've been to the grocery store. Think I can make it for another 4 days? We'll see.

Here's what we ate today:

Breakfast: Grape Nuts and milk, apple slices


Lunch: Leftovers, whole wheat bagels with peanut butter and jelly, carrot sticks


Snack: Warm Delights Minis with Breyer's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream (Yum! We got some samples of these in the mail awhile back and we needed a pick-me-up this afternoon so I pulled these out to make and eat during our afternoon read-aloud time. Needless to say, the girls were more than thrilled!)


Just-made pizza ready to stick in the oven!

Dinner: Homemade Veggie and Cheese Pizza, cucumber slices

And we'll likely have an after-dinner snack of popcorn.

If you're eating from your pantry this week, I'd love to hear what you served today!

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Alyssa says:

    I’m curious as to how you have things like bagels and pizza dough available even when you haven’t been shopping. Would love to hear from you!

    Money Saving Mom here: The bagels were from the freezer and the pizza dough is homemade (recipe is linked in the post). I’m a huge freezer enthusiast and utilize mine to its maximum. So when I find a deal on bread or bagels, etc. I buy some extra for the freezer.

    Hope that helps!

  • We’re eating from our “pantry/freezer” this week, though I did have to make a trip to the grocery store for a few salad ingredients. The first few weeks of this month, when I had enough on hand, I just froze half of our dinner instead of watching it turn into uneating leftovers, and this week, I won’t have to cook in the evenings at all (well, except to make homemade pizza)! It helps that I did this, because we are running low on our grocery budget funds. This week we are having:
    – potato kale soup
    – chicken tikka masala
    – pizza
    – manicotti
    – quiche

  • I’m up for the eat out of the pantry challenge this week, too. My grocery money is almost gone for the month. I may get some milk at CVS later in the week since it’s 2/$4 after ECBs.

  • Diana says:

    I’m in! We had sloppy joes and broccoli today, we’ll see how the rest of the week shapes up because I am not the planner that you are … Just spent my grocery budget on computer supplies – so we are looking at chicken and rice, enchilada pie, hot dogs.

  • We had a pork roast in the freezer I threw in the crockpot with BBQ sauce and we had BBQ pork sandwiches. Last night we cleaned out the Tyson chicken patties from the freezer for sandwiches. This morning I used up the baking apples for apple squares. By the time I finally make it to the store again our cupboard will be pretty bare.

  • Laura says:

    For breakfast we enjoyed fruit smoothies (made with cut up frozen fruit from our freezer and some juice) and homemade whole wheat bread with peanut butter.

    Lunch was leftover pizza that was in the fridge. For an afternoon snack we had honey-nut cheerios from the pantry and milk.

    Supper tonight will be turkey noodle soup. I roasted a turkey a few days ago, then put the frame in the crockpot the next day with some herbs and such to make a stock. I’ll add some carrots and celery from the crisper drawer and noodles from the pantry. If hubby wants grilled cheese with it, I’ll use the homemade bread and cheese from the fridge.

    (PS – We are still eating carrots we harvested last fall from our garden – I’m so tickled!! 🙂 )

  • Honey says:

    ***I need Life from the Roof’s tikka masala recipe. I love it! I usually get the ethnic gormet ones when they go on sale, but they are really expensive. My email is honeysmith (at) bellsouth (dot) net In the meantime, I’ll check your blog to see if you have it posted. Thanks you!
    We had bacon, pancakes, and eggs for breakfast. Chicken and dumplings and orange slices for lunch. (I found chicken for .99/lb last week at Food City and bought 10 pounds) And chili/tortilla chips for dinner.

  • Rachel says:

    I just wanted to say that everyone’s menu looks absolutely yummy!!

    I think I am going to try to implement some of this as well, but I am such a sucker for fresh veggies. I do look for deals, but just can’t seem to keep them on hand for very long. I need to stock up on frozen veggies too. Then maybe I can start!

  • Cindy says:

    I think I’m going to try this too. I haven’t done a large shopping trip for 12 days…just bought the yogurt and fillers for the toddler this morning. Today we had home made cinnamon pecan and caramel rolls a morning snack of jumbo rice krispies lunch was grilled cheese and applesauce with an afternoon snack of dried blueberries and for dinner my doctored version of farmhouse chicken (use chicken broth instead of milk) with a delicious bottle of wine. this evening for my husband and i we will have some sherbert and our daughter will have her night time yogurt. Tomorrow we will have waffles from the freezer with a morning snack of raisins lunch will probably be left over farmhouse chicken with an afternoon snack of vanilla wafers and for dinner sloppy joes. This is kinda fun 🙂 I wonder if I can make it until next week for groceries 🙂 Thanks for the GREAT challenge 🙂 My husband wants me to eat down the stockpile 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    Well, I only just now read your post about the Challenge, and it turns out I’m kind of already doing this this week! Tonight we’re having homemade chicken nuggets made with wheat germ, parmesan and some spices, with homemade fries and some green beans.

  • Rosie says:

    We’ve been eating from the pantry, too! Last night we had barbecued pork steaks, mashed potatoes and green beans. For lunch I had a frozen chicken bake and leftover potatoes. Dinner tonight is… homemade pizza! Ours is pepperoni, canned mushrooms, and our favorite cheese blends. I could’ve also added marinated artichoke hearts (STOCKPILED them when they were on sale for $.79/jar), but hubby declined. Tomorrow is spaghetti and meat sauce, garlic bread, and the last of our lettuce into a salad.

  • Stephanie says:

    Oatmeal with brown sugar – breakfast
    soft taco with beans and cheese heated for lunch
    tuna noodle cassarole for dinner with brownies for dessert.

  • Stephanie says:

    Took the $20.00 babysitting money I made to the grocery today. Did the Target $2.00 off steak deal with tons of other coupons. Had not been to the store in 13 days we feed 7 on a budget of $80 for 10 days,this $20 will stretch us awhile longer. Need to scape together another $50 so that I can buy supplies for the month.

  • Sarah says:

    Hilarious!! This is my life lately, due to my husband’s layoff. But it’s fine. We still have plenty. It’s just plenty of weird stuff. Anyway, if weird pantry meals is as bad as it gets, I’m pretty blessed. =)

  • Kris says:

    We are doing this challenge for the next 4 – 6 weeks if possible. March and April are horribly expensive months for us (home and car insurance, land payment due) so we try to clean out the pantry and deep freeze!
    Breakfast: cinnamon pancakes, orange juice
    Lunch: leftovers (mac and cheese and pork chops), salad
    Supper: sauerkraut and Polish sausage, broccoli from freezer
    We are hoping to only purchase milk, bread, and a bit of fresh produce for the next few weeks.

  • Kirsten says:

    Does eating the carrot cake my daughter won at the Cake Walk count?

    Out of the pantry lunch the other day was Spam Musubi, dinner tomorrow night is soup (kielbasa and turnip greens from the freezer, potatoes and the rest from the pantry/fridge).

  • Alison says:

    I had some leftover cooked ground sirloin and half a jar of pizza sauce in the fridge. I combined them and topped that mixture on English muffins that I had in the freezer. (We stock up on bread products once a month at a local bread store. It’s costs about $15 a month for all of the bread we need.) I used up a bag of frozen green beans for a side. The kids ate it up.
    I made for myself pasta, leftover cooked chicken, onion and the rest of a bag of frozen snow peas for a yummy stir-fry!

  • Sarah says:

    Wow! I’m just excited that tonight I got a little creative and used up some items at dinner. We had 3/4 lb hamburger meat package, which wasn’t enough to just flat out eat meat for dinner, so as I was browning it, I added a can of black beans I had in the pantry. Then I thought, hey, I’ll season it like taco meat. Then I decided to sneak in a vegetable and chopped up the last bit of spinach leaves I had in the fridge. They wilted into the meat, and no one could tell. I also had a 20 pack of stale tortillas that my husband bought and didn’t like. So, I used the tortillas and layered them like lasagna using the meat/bean/spinach concoction, some jarred salsa, and the rest of a bag of shredded cheese I had. Presto! Taco casserole was born. My family loved it! Oh, and I baked the rest of the tortillas with cinnamon and sugar, making cinnamon chips. My 3-year old loved dipping these in applesauce for dessert. Yay for using what you’ve got!

  • English muffins
    Yes, pretty easy bfast and lunch, but yummy dinner done in minutes.
    Bean, beef, rice burritoes from freezer

  • Cheryl H says:

    Just a couple quick questions–
    When you’re trying to eat from the pantry, what do you do when the grocery store runs an awesome sale that you want to take advantage of to stock up?? (Like chicken breasts for 1.39/lb) Do you go or do you wait ’til it rolls around again?? That’s the biggest trouble I run into when eating from the pantry–those sale ads are just so alluring sometimes!!

    Second, when the Catalinas say “Redeem at Safeway” (Or wherever it might be), can you use them at any store, or only at the store you got them at?? Anyone know?

    Money Saving Mom here: I just pretend that grocery store deals don’t exist that week. 🙂 I skip shopping quite often so I’ve just learned to “tune out” deals on that week.

  • I love your homemade pizza recipe! I’ve used it several times…and it’s always easy and tasty!

  • kim says:

    We are doing this challenge this week also. I’ll only go and get whole milk for my kids when it runs out. Other than that, we’ll be using dry milk for cooking. Today we had scrambled eggs with cheese and homemade whole wheat toast for breakfast. For lunch we had homemade clam chowder with whole wheat bread with butter. And for dinner we are having grilled chicken thighs, pasta roni and broccoli.

  • Summer says:

    We are eating from the pantry this week and next week so I’d love to hear some more recipe ideas.

    I’ve had a few tins of chickpeas sitting in the pantry for quite a while now so I used one tin to make hummus the other day and tonight I’m going to make curried roasted chickpeas and vegetables.

    Last night we had spaghetti with tomato sauce.

  • Fairy Dust says:

    I coincidentally decided to start doing this very thing after realizing how jam-packed our freezer is. It seems crazy to spend as much as we do on groceries every week when there’s already so much in the freezer and pantry. So I inventoried and we’ll see what we can do with all the things stored in the downstairs freezer. Just last night I pulled out a box of mini chicken quesadillas, which had suffered from being a little dried out in too long of a deep freeze. So I baked them up, doused them with salsa and sour cream and steamed some corn as a side. If we broke up all the rock-hard mini quesadillas and let them soak up the salsa, they became pretty darn tasty! And I didn’t throw anything away as I’d originally thought I would when I found the box in the back of the freezer – LOL!

  • Deanna says:

    I am over budget this month on groceries so we HAVE to live off the pantry til the end of the month.
    Bfast – cereal or eggs
    Lunch – leftover au gratin potatoes, fruit
    Dinner – marinated venison steak (free from freezer), corn on cob from freezer, and a rice concoction – rice, shreadded zuchinni and onion from freezer, parmesan cheese…it was good!

  • Jan says:

    We just got back from a 2 day mini-vacation so we had pizza! But I just took an inventory of what I have on hand- now if someone would just plan my menu- HA!

  • Debbie says:

    I hadn’t thought about doing this but I’ll give it a try. Tonight we had spaghetti and meatballs, using the leftover meatballs that I had from the meatballs sandwiches I served at my son’s birthday party. I look forward to using up what’s in the freezer…too full~ I’ll still have to get fresh fruit and milk (my son alone drinks a gallon every 2-3 days!), but it will feel good to use up some of the other stuff I have here.

    I would love to here your reader’s ideas for brown bag lunches for school age kids (not homeschooled) who don’t like PB sandwiches or cheese or yogurt! So much easier to make frugal meals at home!

  • This is normal for us, living on what is in our pantry.

    Here’s what we had today:

    Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pancakes (my husband had fried potatoes with ketchup, dried onions and garlic. I got potatoes at 20 cents a pound and I bought 60 pounds 2 weeks ago).

    Lunch: Chicken Fried Steak and salad from the garden (Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, spinach, baby swiss chard, and Emerald Oak lettuce with radishes and borage blossoms). This is made with oats (not chicken, but it tastes like it). I took a new picture today so you can see what it looked like:

    Snack: apples and chocolate

    Dinner: Bean Burritos with canned tomatoes (drained diced tomatoes) and black seeded simpson lettuce from the garden. We were given a #10 can of refried beans. I don’t know if you can freeze refried beans, so we’ll probably be eating a lot of beans this week!


  • Krissy says:

    I made a large roast for dinner last night and had a ton left over. Today, I took the meat and put it in the crockpot with a can of diced tomatoes with onion and garlic. I served it with flour tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream and leftover rice and beans. Hubby said it was “crazy good”. I think that’s a compliment….. =)

  • I love the idea of creating meals with only what you have in your pantry. My wife and I tried this in college and ended up making some pretty creative meals. Everyone should try it for at least a week.

  • Kristine says:

    Breakfast- Quiche ( Grands biscuits in a casserole dish, topped with sausage,eggs, and cheese, baked at 375 degress for 25 minutes) Mine was actually leftover. I sliced it into portions and put it in the freezer.

    Snack- Mott’s Applesauce. We like the No sugar added healthy Harverst cups. Honey Goldfish Grahams (both of these are from the Target sale)

    Lunch- Sliced turkey dogs,sliced cheese, grapes, and those free Ritz crackers from CVS ( c :

    Supper- Reuben sandwiches (leftover St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef,) with carrots

    Bedtime Snack- Orange yogurt mixed with sliced strawberries, nectarines,and Cheerios

  • Gretchen says:

    Hi! I just found your blog and it is GREAT!

    I’m trying your “eat out of the pantry” this week. For lunch peanut and butter jelly sandwiches and fruit and for dinner we had Costco chili from the can over toast and milk. We’ll see how we do as the week goes on!

    Thanks for the challenge. =0)

  • Suzanne says:

    I made two pizzas: one with red sauce and cheese and one BBQ chicken & cheese. I used your quick pizza crust recipe, which I LOVE!! Thank you so much!

  • jan says:

    I’ve been sick, so haven’t been to the store in oh, 11 days. Not so shocking. But am holding out til the end of the week, if possible. My only issue is those great coupons that expire at the end of March. Of course, my pantry & freezers are jammed and hubby would love to see them cleared out a bit!

    breakfast: scrambled eggs & toast
    lunch: tuna salad & crackers
    dinner: chicken, pasta & brocolli

  • Julie says:

    For Cheryl H. The catalinas that print out from Walgreens have the Walgreens logo on them, but it states at the top “manufacturer’s coupon”, so it should be able to be used anywhere. I do have one store that won’t take them because they say they don’t take other store’s coupons. I have used it at Stop and Shop when buying groceries at the self-scan, so the code is a manufacturer’s code!

  • Jen T says:

    We are doing so good on our “eating from the pantry” I have 5 kids so I am thinking of getting a bigger pantry! ha!
    Breakfast -homeade banana pancakes and pears
    Lunch pbj on english muffins w applesauce
    snack honey nut cheerios and yogurt
    dinner quick spaghetti bake (had some homemade sauce frozen, boiled a box of shell pasta, mixed with some cheddar and mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted, YUM!)

    By the way I love the pizza crust recipe, I made 3 Saturday night, let the kid pick some topping, and made a chicken bacon ranch for my husband’s choice, turned out great! What veggies did you put on your pizza?

  • Shannon says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever left a comment! (I’m excited!)

    We are also eating out of the pantry/freezer this week. I’m over budget…like always!

    I also did the 2.00 off meat at Super Target. I ended up with about 15 lbs of various meat for around two dollars! Needless to say London Broil is on our menu….a lot! Our menu looks something like this.

    Crock Pot London Broil, green beans and home baked tato wedgies

    Breakfast for dinner- eggs, biscuits and gravy w/ fried (baked) tatos

    BBQ london broil w/ corn and rice pilaf

    Spaghetti (frozen meat sauce) w/ homemade breadsticks (frozen) and green beans
    Asain steak w/ snow peas and rice

    Tacos (frozen meat) w/ refried beans

    Chicken Parmesan w/ noodles (totally cheating and using chicken patties)

    Homemade philly cheese steak pizza (still trying to use meat from Target)

    Breakfasts are cereal or eggs, waffles and pancakes..muffins (I have a ton of frozen fruit that I still need to use)

    Lunches are boring because the kids are in school and the husband always wants a salad and boca burger.

    For me..imitation crab meat w/ imitation butter spray. yum!

  • Alicia says:

    We’ve been doing this for over seven weeks now. I do still purchase a few things at the store.. milk, bread, potatoes, and onions.

    I stockpile while couponing, so our cabinets and freezer are filled to the max. After seven weeks of stockpile cooking, there is still no additional space in our cabinets or freezers.

    Our meals for yesterday were:
    Breakfast: hashbrowns
    Lunch: mac & cheese/burritos
    Dinner: biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs topped with onions, sausage, mushrooms and cheese, and homefries.

    Breakfast: cereal
    lunch: ?? (up to DD4)
    dinner: roast with potatoes and carrots
    (I’m not feeling creative today)

  • Shellie says:

    I love those Warm Delights, too. I learned that you can make them with plain cake mix, though. Mix 4T cake mix with 2T water in a microwave-safe coffee mug. Microwave about a minute (YMMV because of microwave strength). I like chocolate cake mix, and if I have some canned chocolate frosting in the fridge I put about a teaspoon on top of the wet mix just before microwaving. Just like the lava cake version. Cake mix is WAY cheaper than Warm Delights!

  • I did this project almost a year ago. It was actually a ton of fun, and I do it all the time now. You can see a round-up of my blogs on it here:

  • Angela says:

    We ate fairly simple yesterday.

    breakfast – oatmeal and cereal + coffee for me!
    lunch – turkey sandwiches
    snacks – crackers, bananas, pistachios, granola bars
    dinner – fish sticks, tater tots

    Simple, but satisfying! 😉 I’ve been doing this for 6 days straight now and the funny thing is it’s been easier than I thought!

  • Amiyrah says:

    We eat from the pantry most of the week, but one of the coolest things I made was last night: I put a block of frozen carrot puree, a bottle of homemade chicken stock, and a bottle of ragu garden combo sauce in the crockpot. I added 2 bay leaves and a few shakes italian seasoning and pepper. I even threw in a handful of frozen cut-up celery. I let it cook on high for 4 hours and it turned out the best italian tomato soup ever! Because I used the garden combo brand of sauce, it automatically put veggies into the soup. We had some for lunch today and will have some with our homemade mac and cheese for dinner tonight.

    Tomorrow is “mashed potato buffet” night. Odds and ends are put on top of bowls of mashed potatoes(caramelized onions made in the crockpot are our favorite topping). Yum!

  • Erin says:

    What do you do about milk and fruit? I’m at a point where I’m fairly stockpiled, but I still need to make weekly grocery runs since those don’t stockpile well.

  • Melissa says:

    How about lasagna and coleslaw? That’s what we did today! 🙂

  • Erin,

    I use powdered and evaporated mik, and canned and dried fruits. If you buy apples, those last longer. A garden will also provide fruit. When fruit is on sale in season, consider canning it (if pears go on sale for 50 cents a pound, you can can pears to last the rest of the year for your family for a lot less money!) Ask the produce manager the first day of the sale to order some cases of pears (or peaches, etc) for you to can. You will then have fruit bought when it is freshest and cheapest for the year—to last you until it is that price again next year. If you have fruit trees of your own, you can can that fruit.

    If you aren’t eating cold cereal for breakfast each day, you can use the powdered milk in cooking and have cooked breakfasts that don’t require you to have milk all the time.

    We still manage to have fruit and milk in our diet without going to the store every month.


  • Tricia says:

    Love this challenge! I have been working on using items from my pantry and cleaning out the freezer for the past two weeks. I have not done any serious grocery shopping but, I did stop to pick up milk, eggs, and fruit a few days ago.

    Breakfasts – Oatmeal / Cereal (stockpile) or Bagels (freezer) with fruit

    Lunches – I pack soup (stockpile), whole wheat crackers and cheese (Hickory Farms in freezer) and fruit.
    (Kids) Hot lunch at school or gogurt (frozen) / sandwich (lunch meat and bread in freezer) with a small bag of chips or pretzels, granola bar and fruit.

    Dinner on Monday – Taco Beef Bake w/ Cheddar Biscuit Topping. I used ground turkey (freezer) browned w/ taco seasoning, one can of Mexicali corn, one jar of thick / chunky salsa, placed in a baking dish and topped with Bisquick biscuits w/ cheddar cheese (freezer). Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. I served this with baby carrots and celery. Everyone loved it and it was so easy!

    Tonight’s dinner– Mandarin Orange Chicken – I am using chicken breasts, broth, and orange juice concentrate from the freezer, canned mushrooms, mandarin oranges and rice from the pantry. I also have some frozen mixed vegetables that I will serve on the side.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *